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A Sweet Start

Introducing Torah (often beginning with the book of Vayikra/Leviticus) to small children by smearing a book or page (hopefully laminated) with honey and letting them lick it off, thus showing how Jewish learning is sweet, is a well known practice. It’s also one that induces in me an involuntary eye-roll because those kids have got a rude awakening coming when they actually find out what they’re going to be reading.

It’s no secret that Vayikra/Leviticus is not my favorite book in Torah. The least favorite, in fact.

(In my opinion) It lacks the rich storytelling depth of Bereshit/Genesis, the compelling narrative of Shemot/Exodus, the epic adolescent rebelliousness of Bamidbar/Numbers, or the… well, let’s just say that Devarim/Deuteronomy isn’t high on my list either.

But I’m a sucker for baklava. So this this story from  the Chabad website might help me to re-frame my feelings about the book that focuses on the Priestly Laws. Because they transform the old smear-the-honey tradition into a “dessert holiday” worthy of the sages.



CROSSPOST: Vegetable CousCous

As I come back up to speed here on GoingKosher, this post from HomeShuling was especially apropos and worth crossposting. Plus, Amy is an amazing writer, parent, and all around person that you should get to know. You can read the original here.

Rosh Hashanah Seven Vegetable Couscous – a recipe and a story

I’m sitting in my kitchen right now, with a pile of cookbooks in front of me. Odd, because I rarely use cookbooks anymore. I almost always go straight to the internet to find my recipes. But, I’m feeling the need to browse. With three days of meals to cook, since Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat are back to back, and lots of company coming, I’m trying to concoct a plan.

I stumbled across a recipe that was faintly stained with spices on a page that was nearly glued to the opposite page – a sure sign that I’d made the dish before. It was Seven-Vegetable Couscous from Nava Atlas’ Vegetarian Celebrations, and once I began to read it over I remembered how delicious this traditional Rosh Hashanah dish is. I’ve put it on my menu for the second night, and since the cookbook is out of  print, I’m hoping it’s fairly legal to post the recipe here:

1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon reduced-fat margarine
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 medium onions — chopped
2 large carrots — sliced
1 cup finely shredded white cabbage
1 medium turnip — peeled and diced
1 medium yellow summer squash — diced
1 1/2 cups canned or cooked chick peas
1 1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup toasted sliced or silvered almonds

6 to 8 servings

Since seven is a lucky number in Jewish tradition, Sephardic Jews serve a seven-vegetable soup or stew such as this one for the holiday meal.

Cover the couscous with 3 cups of boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the margarine, turmeric, and salt. Cover and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions and sauté over moderate heat until translucent. Stir in the carrots and cabbage and sauté until crisp-tender, adding small amounts of water as needed to keep the bottom of the pot moist. Add the remaining ingredients except the last 2. Cover and cook over low heat, lifting the lid to stir frequently for 15 to 20 minutes. Add water in small amounts until the mixture has the consistency of a thick, moist (but not soupy) stew. The vegetables should be tender but still firm.

Before serving, arrange the couscous on the outer perimeter of a large serving platter. Pour the vegetable mixture into the center. Sprinkle with the parsley and almonds. Guests should place a small mound of couscous on their plates and top it with the vegetable mixture.

What’s on your holiday menu? I’m always looking for new recipes and would love to see your favorites in the comments or on the homeshuling facebook wall.


TOP RECIPE: 2-Bite Gingery Salmon Potato Burgers on Potato Crisps

Posted on

With Passover behind us, we can expand our culinary horizons a bit. Today’s recipe comes from the great people over at JoyOfKosher. You can find the original post here.


  • 1 large Idaho® baking potato, peeled and cut into cubes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound cooked red salmon, flaked, or 1 pound can red Alaskan salmon, drained, bones and skin removed, coarsely flaked
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, divided, saving 1 teaspoon for creamy garnish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or finely chopped pickled ginger
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped chives (from above)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from above)
  • 1 Idaho potato, about 6 ounces
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook potato cubes in water with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, until fork-tender. Drain.
  2. Mash in pan. Set aside. Place flaked salmon in a medium bowl. Add the mashed potato, 1-1/2 tablespoons chives, lemon zest (except 1 teaspoon), lemon juice, ginger, and beaten egg, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and cayenne. Mix well.
  3. Shape into 16 small burgers.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Sauté 8 burgers on both sides until lightly brown. 
  5. Remove to plate. Repeat with remaining 8 burgers.
  6. In a small bowl, mix creamy garnish ingredients. Refrigerate until needed.
  7. Preheat oven to 425°.
  8. Place in a ziplock bag and toss with olive oil. Place potato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  9. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and place a second baking sheet on top to weigh down the slices.
  10. Place baking sheet on top shelf of oven and bake another 10-12 minutes, turning potato slices over after 6 minutes. Potato crisps will be golden brown.

Source: Idaho Potato Commission

TOP RECIPE: Rhubarb Lemonade

At this point, I can’t give you another Passover recipe. But to give a chametz-dic one would be cruel. So here’s a refreshing quickie from the folks over at Couldn’t Be Parve. You can find the original post here.

Rhubarb Lemonade

Makes 1
This recipe makes a single drink since that is how I have been enjoying it, but feel free to multiply it and make a whole pitcher. I also like my lemonade quite tart so feel free to increase the amount of syrup or decrease the lemon juice to taste.

  • 3 tablespoons rhubarb syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 8 oz seltzer
  • ice
  • 1 16 oz glass

Combine the first three ingredients in the glass. Add ice until the glass is full. Enjoy.

TOP RECIPE: Lemon Meringues

Standing at the edge of Passover, I’m bringing you another recipe from Couldn’t Be Parve. You can find the original post here.

Lemon Meringues

makes about 50

2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
2 packed teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 190. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place the zest and sugar in the metal bowl of an electric mixer. Rub it together with your fingers until it is well mixed and very fragrant. Add the egg whites. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch, 2-3 minutes. Transfer bowl to the mixer and whip (using the whisk attachment) until the mixture holds a stiff peak.

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium sized star or round tip (I like ateco #826) and pipe meringue no bigger than one inch. (Any larger and they may crack while baking). Alternatively, use a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off to pipe the meringues.

Bake the meringues for one hour and thirty minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and front to back after one hour. At this point the meringues will be set and firm to the touch but may still be a bit sticky. Turn off the oven and let the meringues dry in the over night.

TOP RECIPE (Pesach): Quinoa Hot Cereal

This past Tuesday marked the start of the time we could observe the commandment NOT to eat Matzah before Passover (unless you follow the Vilna Gaon, in which case he (like my beloved Pandora) refused to eat it at any other time of year).

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t start planning for that flourless week. And who better to help than the great folks over at Couldn’t Be Pareve. Most of the focus on Passover recipes is what to make and serve during the seder itself. So I thought it would be useful to provide one of their recipes for “morning after” food: Cereal made from Quinoa. You can find the orignal posting here.

Quinoa Hot Cereal

Makes 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup water or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • dried fruit and nuts for topping
  • honey for topping (optional)

Combine the first five ingredients (apple sauce through cinnamon) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the almond butter and sugar are melted and the mixture is hot. Add the quinoa and stir until hot. Divide between two bowls and top with dried fruits and nuts. Drizzle with honey if desired.

TOP RECIPE: Whole Wheat Challah

This weeks’ recipe comes to us from Joy of Kosher


You can try this with 100% whole wheat flour too, just add another tbsp. of vital wheat gluten. This gives the instructions for a food processor but you can use a mixer or do it by hand.


  • 6 tbsp. sugar
    2 packs active dry yeast
    3/4 cup warm water
    3 cups all purpose flour
    3 cups whole wheat flour
    1 tbsp. vital wheat gluten
    2 tsp. salt
    3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. cold water
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 large eggs
    egg wash of 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water


  1. Dissolve yeast and 2 tsp. sugar in warm water in a 2 cup liquid measure and let stand until foamy about 5 minutes.
  2. In food processor, insert dough blade. Add flour, vital wheat gluten, rest of sugar, and salt. Pulse until combined.
  3. cold water, oil and eggs to yeast mixture in measuring cup.
  4. With machine running on dough speed add yeast mixture through tube in steady stream as fast as the flour absorbs it. Once dough cleans the sides of the work bowl and forms a ball, continue processing for 45 seconds to knead dough.
  5. Place dough in a floured plastic ziplock and seal. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in sized about 1 to 11/2 hours.
  6. Place dough on lightly floured surface and punch down. Let rest 10-15 minutes. Divide dough into two. Shape.
  7. Place shaped bread on cookie sheet sprayed. Cover with plastic wrap coated with spray and let rise until double about 45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 375.
  9. Brush with egg glaze, bake in lower third of oven for 20 minutes. Lower temp to 350. and baked until brown and hollow – 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.